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(PLATH, Sylvia.) THOMAS, R. S.

Tares. [With:] THOMAS, R. S. Song at the Year's Turning, Poems 1942-1954. With an introduction by John Betjeman.

Availability: In stock

Published: London Rupert Hart-Davis, 1961 & 1960

Stock Code: 126085

OR On display in 100 Fulham Road


First edition, first impression of Tares; first edition, fourth impression of Song. Presentation copies from Ted Hughes to Sylvia Plath, each inscribed respectively on the front free endpaper: "To Sylvia on her birthday, with love, from Ted, Oct 27th 1961" and "To Sylvia on her birthday, from Ted, with love, October 27th 1961". Tares accompanied by two scraps of manuscript in Hughes's hand, presumably once used as bookmarks. Both volumes from the library of Frieda Hughes (b. 1960), their first child, although unmarked as such.
A highly appealing provenance: this was the occasion of Plath's 29th birthday and Hughes's gifts were mentioned in a letter to her mother dated 30 October: "Had a lovely birthday. Ted bought me a lot of fancy cans of octopus and caviar at a delicatessen, two poetry books, a Parker pen, and a big wicker basket for my laundry" (Sylvia Plath, Letters Home, 1975, p. 434). 1961 was a significant year for the couple, "in February Plath suffered a miscarriage (the subject of 'Parliament Hill Fields'), and in the following month had an appendectomy; her stay in hospital produced the acclaimed poems 'Tulips' and 'In Plaster'. That summer her poem 'Insomniac', completed in May, was awarded first prize at the annual Cheltenham festival and she started writing what became The Bell Jar, which she dismissed in October 1962 as a 'potboiler and just practice'. By June she was once again pregnant, and in August the family moved out of London, to Court Green, a former manor house and rectory in North Tawton, Devon, with 2 acres of land. During their first months there Hughes reviewed books, continued to write for the BBC, and had stories and poems published in British and American magazines; Plath sold poems to the New Yorker and the New Statesman" (ODNB).
Tares includes "Walter Llywarch", one of Thomas's most anthologized poems ("I am, as you know, Walter Llywarch, Born in Wales of approved parents"). Hughes was one of the very few modern poets of whom Thomas approved and he marked Hughes's death in 1998 with the elegy "In Memory of Ted Hughes", read at the dedication in 2011 of the Ted Hughes Memorial in Poet's Corner, Westminster Abbey.

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2 works, octavo. Original boards, Song at the Year's Turning with the dust jacket.


Tares: small superficial split to paper on front board, head of rear joint slightly cracked, a little soiling to boards, contents lightly foxed. A very good copy. Song: faint scattered foxing to edges and contents, spine of jacket lightly toned, a few minor nicks and chips. A very good copy.


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